Reitz 4 wait to hear fate

2010-07-28 14:06
Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe, RC Malherbe and Danie Grobler appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's court. (Libuseng Nyaka, AFP)

Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe, RC Malherbe and Danie Grobler appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's court. (Libuseng Nyaka, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bloemfontein - Four former University of Free State students face sentencing on Wednesday after they pleaded guilty to humiliating five black housekeepers in a video depicting racial abuse at the institution.

They made the video in 2007 as students in protest at plans to integrate student housing.

One clip showed a young man apparently urinating into a bowl of stew and then serving it to the housekeepers. It ended with the words: "That, at the end of the day, is what we think of integration."

The video sparked an international scandal when it landed on the internet in February 2008.

Guilty plea


Magistrate Mziwonke Hinxa is set to hand down a sentence after he accepted the men's guilty plea on Tuesday to the charge of crimen injuria, or seriously impairing another's dignity, committed against the five housekeepers.

The penalty for the charge is normally a fine, according to the prosecutor's office.

In the statement the boys denied urinating on the food, saying: "It was an act meant to look like urine."

They claimed that one woman whom they had known for three years was approached to recruit other participants for the video.

Mediation efforts failed to resolve the case, with the housekeepers saying they wanted to pursue a trial against the students. The guilty plea avoided what could have been an emotive trial in a case that shocked the country.

'Insensitive, ill considered and wrong'

Defence lawyer Kemp J Kemp told the court that the students had not intended to humiliate the housekeepers, but later realised they had done just that.

"The accused did not realise the effect of the video and what it would have on the university and the plaintiffs. They now, in retrospect, accept that the use of the workers for the video was insensitive, ill considered and wrong," he said.

The video was shot at a time when the University of Free State was introducing racial integration at student hostels, following decades of race-based hostel allocation.

"Workers were asked to participate as they were the only black people available and were familiar with the students," Kemp said, according to The Star newspaper.

Throughout the video, the workers were voluntary contributors, who could have withdrawn at any time and understood they were acting, Kemp said.

Kemp said the students had good relations with the workers until the video hit the internet.

None of the young men - Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe, RC Malherbe and Danie Grobler - are still studying at the university.

Hostel now a diversity centre


The whites-only male hostel where the video was shot was later shut down and eventually re-opened as a diversity centre to address issues of racism, sexism, xenophobia and reconciliation.

In October last year, university rector Jonathan Jansen came under fire when he announced that the institution was withdrawing disciplinary charges against the students, in an attempt to promote reconciliation.

Jansen was heavily criticised for choosing reconciliation over retribution, igniting further debate about the limits of forgiveness in a nation that has already forgiven much of its racist past.

He invited the students to return to campus to finish their studies - an offer none accepted.

The five workers have also launched a civil case against the four students at the Bloemfontein Equality Court. They are each suing them for R1m.

Read more on:    ufs  |  bloemfontein  |  reitz  |  racism
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too much...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.